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Photo: Roman Didkivskyi/Getty Images

Measles outbreaks in 22 states so far in 2019 have now eclipsed levels seen in any year since the virus was declared eradicated in 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Details: The CDC released a statement on Wednesday afternoon saying the U.S. has seen 695 measles cases so far in the year, which beats the previous record of 667 cases during 2014. "The high number of cases in 2019 is primarily the result of a few large outbreaks – one in Washington State and two large outbreaks in New York that started in late 2018," the CDC said.  

The CDC also stated that ongoing outbreaks in New York City and New York State "are among the largest and longest lasting since measles elimination in 2000." The agency warned, "The longer these outbreaks continue, the greater the chance measles will again get a sustained foothold in the United States."

The big picture: Experts have cited multiple factors for the record number of cases, from misinformation associated with the anti-vaccine movement to lack of awareness that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is safe and effective.

The outbreaks were imported into the U.S. by travelers from regions where outbreaks were occurring, such as Ukraine and Israel, and spread in communities with inadequate levels of vaccination.

  • Measles is an extremely contagious virus that can spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • It causes a fever and a rash, and can also cause more serious conditions including pneumonia and inflammation of the brain. It can be deadly.

The national average vaccination coverage in kindergarten children is at a level consistent with the "herd immunity" necessary to prevent a nationwide outbreak. However, pockets of community resistance to the vaccine are allowing the virus to make inroads, experts have told Axios.

Our thought bubble, per Axios' Andrew Freedman: This record is a clear warning to public health officials as well as the leaders of social media and e-commerce companies that they need to do more to communicate the safety and effectiveness of the MMR vaccine.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sydney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.